Newquay isn’t suggested in the Domesday Book and it is not known when it was first inhabited although a local house now a bar known as "Treninnick Tavern" is included. By the 15th century, the village was called "Towan Blystra"--"Towan" symbolising sand hill/dune in Cornish, "Blystra" translating to blown--north east winds meant that the anchorage was exposed and the local burgesses applied to Edmund Lacey in 1439, Bishop of Exeter for leave and funds to build a "New quay" from which the town acquires its current name.
Newquay Discovery Trail is made up of 14 Cornish slate discs, each 39 inches (0.99 m) in diameter, sunk into the ground at certain areas around the town. Each of the discs features a series of 'conundrum' words carved by sculptor Peter Martin. Visitors are given a free guide to following the trail and can learn about the Newquay's history. The trail starts in the centre of town at the Killacourt. For over a century Newquay has been a prime tourist stop, mainly because of its coastline and nine long and accessible sandy beaches, including Fistral. Trenance Leisure Gardens are positioned in a wooded, formerly marshy valley on the reserved side of Newquay, spreading down to the Gannel Estuary. Providing recreation for tourists in the Edwardian period, tennis courts, walks and the bowling green were well received and still are today. In the gardens, which are spanned by the arches of the stone railway viaduct, visitors have long been able to enjoy a stroll through the beautiful Trenance Gardens with their mature trees and heritage cottages, leading to the boating lake. Developments in the late 1960's, include mini-golf, a swimming pool, the "Little Western" miniature railway and Newquay Zoo, opened in 1969.
Newquay is also notorious for the "Run to the Sun" event, which always takes place during the public holiday on the last weekend in May at Trevelgue Holiday Park. Sweeping through Newquay is the 1,013 kilometre South West Coast Path. Newquay is a centre for the surf industry in Britain, with many surf stores, board manufacturers and hire shops in the town. Fistral Beach is an important area for surfing and has a reputation as one of the best beach getaways in Cornwall. Fistral Beach has been host to international surfing competitions for around 20 years now, just recently the Rip Curl Boardmasters Tournament now known as the Relentless Boardmasters Festival and has a new sponsor.
Newquay has a lively nightlife and has a wide choice from chillout bars and traditional pubs, to beachside cafes nightclubs and organised bar crawls. Live music is also featured at many Newquay venues with international and local performances. Newquay's nightclubs often play host to BBC Radio 1 and other well known DJs.
Newquay railway station is located at the end of the Atlantic Coast Line from Par. It was initially constructed in the 1840's as a mineral line to accommodate a link with the harbour and in 1876 a passenger service ensued.
The Newquay Cornwall International Airport development plan includes substantial additions around the airport, including industry connected to aviation and a contemplated business park.
James Morrison, the well known singer-songwriter came of age in the Newquay area and Phillip Schofield attended Newquay Tretherras School. The Magical Mystery Tour was filmed by the Beatles in Newquay.